I grew up in Carthage, NY. My dad worked for the state of New York as an Engineer technician. My mom is a teacher. From an early age I learned that hard work and a passion for what you do are the most important things when striving for goals. At an early age I thought I wanted to be a teacher. My grandmother would have people come up to her in the grocery store and say they remembered her as their teacher in whatever grade they had her in. My mom always had students stopping and talking to her. I knew then that I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be someone that made such a difference in someone's life that they were remembered for years after. So the answer for me was to join the legacy of my family and teach. My first students were my dolls and my brother, Hugh. I don't think that either learned anything new...since the dolls weren't capable and my brother was two years older than me so he had already learned the things that I taught him.
I went to Elementary and Middle School at Augustinian Academy in Carthage. I remember many great things from my K-8 years but one of my most vivid memories is winning the Halloween costume contest in second grade. I was the Statue of Liberty. For winning I got to go to McDonalds with my principal. I got a Happy Meal with Legos in it. I also remember Mrs. Monkman my 4th Grade teacher. She was the best teacher I have ever had. I remember telling my mom that I was not going to go to 4th grade because I did not want Mrs. Monkman. She was supposed to be mean. But my mom made me go....and well fourth grade was one of the best years of my life! I even had perfect attendance that year. Mrs. Monkman was tough but fair. She accepted every student for who they were no matter what. She pushed you to work to your ability and just a little beyond...but not too hard as to discourage. Mrs. Monkman was another one of those people like my mom and grandma. The ones that you remember forever. I was heartbroken when at the end of the year she moved to Washington and I would never see her again. (She ended up moving back in 2002...we had a great reunion and I see her at church once in awhile!)
After middle school at Augustinian I went to High School at I.H.C. I was actively involved in my school's musicals and variety shows. I was in the chorus, as well as the band and colorguard. I also took part in Forensics (no...not the CSI type), but Public Speaking competitions which I actually won quite a few awards in. I was also the editor of my school newspaper. I remember that my senior year I finally got up the nerve and I sang my first solo on stage. The song was from "South Pacific" it was called "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair!" I blew my music teacher away...heck I blew myself away. High School was fun but I was glad to graduate and go see the real world. In my senior year of High School my grandmother passed away after a very short bout of cancer and left me a nice inheritance to go to her alma mater SUNY Potsdam. She had graduated from Potsdam Normal School as a teacher in 1929.
So off to SUNY Potsdam I went. I remember my first day of college I had a hard time deciding what to wear as I had worn uniforms to school everyday for 13 years. I started out as a History and Elementary Education Major. The first semester of my sophomore year I decided History was not for me in college. So I transferred to communications. I took a lot of classes in interpersonal and family communications to help me in the education field. After finishing my undergraduate degree at Potsdam I decided to take a semester off, but I returned to get my Master's Degree in Reading shortly after. Which brings us to where I am today.
This is my 20th year teaching. I have worked in other school districts in the area as a Kindergarten teacher, a first grade teacher and a Reading Recovery® teacher. I taught Pre-K at Lyme Central for 5 years. I had never taught children that young before and I have to say it is one of the most rewarding grades to teach in my opinion. The children come to me as these little people that know a few things, but they leave amazing themselves, their families and most of all me. It is truly a gift to get to teach Pre-K. I moved to first grade in 2012. At the end of the 2015-2016 school year I was asked to loop with my class to 2nd grade. I spent two years in second grade and this year I have returned to my strong literacy roots.
On a more personal note, I live in Watertown with my husband, Tom, and my three sons. McKennon is 9 and is in 4th Grade this year! I also have twin boys, Jameson and Greyson that are 7 and in 1st Grade!. I love being a mom! There is no greater feeling than holding your child in your arms. I am also a dog mom. We have a Treeing Walker Coon Hound that we rescused last May! His name is Walker and we just love him.
When I am not at school I love to spend time with my boys, read, watch movies, boat, make cards, dabble in interior design, clean my house (I know, weird, right?) and cook. I LOVE cooking... ABSOLUTELY L-O-V-E it!!!!! Tom and I have all of the holiday celebrations at our house because I love to have people over for big meals and parties. There is nothing better than being surrounded by good food, good friends and your family. Some day I am going to take cooking lessons and learn to WOW everyone with my culinary abilities. I also spend a fair amount of time talking to and supporting families with children that have been recently diagnosed with cancer in our area. My son Greyson is a childhood cancer survivor and this is one way I give back for all the support we received when we were in their shoes. It is very rewarding knowing that I can help people navigate the murky waters of being a cancer parent.
I hope to get to learn more about each one of you as our year progresses.